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"Virginia Part 1"
"Virginia Part 2"
"Virginia Part 3"
Well, i'm back at the airport. 3 and a half weeks later and I return to the place that I dived into the deep end and ended up in New York with Dash. I now return with Uncle Robert and we are heading to a small town in Virginia for my brothers wedding. When I told people I am going to Virginia, literally everyone said, huh? My brother is in the navy serving for the United States and that is where they placed him. He met a girl, fell in love, and asked his family to be apart of his wedding. I'm obviously not going to turn him down. Funny thing is, the wedding is on my birthday. Yes the birthday we just spent a whole 4 pages talking about. Listen, it is just one day. I may not get to celebrate in the ideal way, but moving forward i'll get to share this day with him and his new wife. So, they are kinda stuck with me in that way, lol. Uncle Robert is freaking the hell out right now. I'm literally writing this in front of my airport gate. He hasn't been on a plane since the early 2000's. So basically a million years ago, lol. At least SF has exhibits within their airport to keep us busy and try to keep his mind on better things before we step into this unknown town. I hear a lot about Virginia. I know the history of the place and I don't how I will react to certain things. But i'm not there for the politics or the way the people are stuck in the past and can't and won't accept people of color or people like me in the lgbtq community. I'm there for my brother and that is that. To see some of the things i've heard about, that will be interesting. But i'm not gonna let that try and sway me and drown out special memories I could be making with my family. I don't know why i'm writing this, but I can't really go around it. It is something that is apart of American history and continues in the modern world that we live in today. I am very outspoken and don't agree with a lot of what this country is now doing, but I have to somehow separate those feelings and block it out. Because like I said, i'm not there for that. So besides being there for my brother, I hope my experience in a very conservative state, makes me leave with a whole new layer to the way I think and an even larger state of mind. We are boarding in 5 mins. I better turn this off. I'm gonna keep this thread open though. I want to compile every thought and memory into one, as opposed to something separate. It will help process things more, you know what I mean? Let's see what Virginia has to offer...
Holy hell. I hate American Airlines. Let's vent for a hot second. So we arrived in Charlotte North Carolina at 11pm. Our flight to this small town called Newport News was scheduled to leave in 15 mins. They would not let us off the plane and we were going to be late as hell to our flight. I can't believe they put the connecting gate at the other side of the airport. So Uncle Robert and I had to bolt all the way to the other end to get the heck outta North Carolina and make our flight. Otherwise, we would have been stuck in the airport. Not cool for them to put our flights so close to each other. Let's not forget that I had to pay for WiFi and only got served pretzels on the plane. Also the seat was so uncomfortable. Unlike when me and Dash flew JetBlue to New York. It was also a long as hell flight. Basically 12 hours. It wasn't the best experience and I would not recommend flying that airline again. I have heard about how humid it gets down in the south. Damn, are they right. It was hot when we got off the plane. I probably burned a good amount of calories running to the other side of the airport. I'm lucky that my body and mind shifted back to East Coast time so quickly. I had no trouble feeling that it was truly almost midnight when my mind knows that it is 9pm back home. I swear my body is tailored for this time zone. God, I miss New York. I can't believe i'm so close yet so far from it. Just like how New York is the opposite of California, Virginia is the COMPLETE opposite of both put together. We are staying at this airbnb in Newport News. It is the complete opposite of Lieb and Cynthia's house. This guy is not that friendly and seems to never be home?... We will find out more about that soon I guess. The wedding rehearsal is tonight. I woke up at 6am because my body just knew it was 6am. Uncle Robert was dead tired and dead asleep. I needed him to wake up though. I wanted to get a head start on the day and get a feel of the town we are staying in. Something is off with this place. I'll tell you that. The whites and the blacks, you can tell they don't get along as well as they get along in places like New York or back home in California. There is a different kinda attitude here. Anyone with a mind can just tell. I seriously wonder how the rest of the state is, because it is very very interesting. I'm fascinated by all the people here who see the rest of the country, such as back home in Cali, as something not right and on par with American values. I'm typing this at the local Whole Foods. Yes, they have a Whole Foods here. Thank god for that. It means I can go and eat something good. GOD BLESD GOD for at least having a Whole Foods here. I'm just examining the place. It is so humid. People are not that friendly. New York wasn't that friendly, but they had kindness. Virginia, they just have values I guess. If I lived here, I don't know how that would be. I went around the town square and it was pretty dead. I found an old historic mansion and was suddenly taken back to 4th grade learning about all these things in history. I've never seen slavery homes in person, only in movies like "The Help". For the first time, I have seen it with my own eye. There seems to be not a lot of crosswalks here. So strange, but let's just pray that we can get around safely and not get hit by a car. I'm very curious to see how tonight goes. I'm excited to see my family that could make it out to support our brother and i'm curious to see how they see life here. We are here for one purpose, like I said, it is for this wedding. But it's good to learn these things because I feel it will broaden my mind in ways I never expected.
I had the whole day free and to myself. Last night was the wedding rehearsal. It was sweet. It went nice and smoothly. It was in another town. I'm not the best with maps, and had no idea it was somewhere completely different than where I'm staying. My brother looks so happy and a little nervous. I mean... wouldn't you be nervous if your wedding day was in 2 days. After we finished rehearsal we went to this beautiful seaside restaurant. It was under this bridge and near some battleground apart of American history. I could truly tell I was in the south, just by the lighting of the sunset. It has that southern flare to it. It was nice to be with my first cousins/ god brothers and just be nerds and talk about Endgame, Thrones, Marvel, you name it. Also talking about our up bringing and all the good times in the past along with me just lovingly praising New York. It was nice to finally catch up and just be boys again. We got to watch the sunset as a family and I headed out before it got completely dark so I could get some rest and get to this point right now. I'm currently inside one of the smallest Barnes and Nobel that I have ever stepped into. They could just tell that i'm not from here. I legit walked in with Uncle Robert and this white lady gave me the dirtiest look. I also love to hold the door open for people and this one woman was like, thanks, but I can do it myself, I swear she just didn't want to deal.... I'm still here though. The WiFi is free and i'm holding my head high. I'm not from this area and I will not put up with nonsense like this. We have been out all morning. I took some photos and treated myself to Detective Pikachu. It was the last film to be watched as my 23 year old self. I adored it. It is such a special little film with the overall message being between the love of a father and a son. I relate to that a lot. I actually spoke to my dad earlier for longer than usual. It felt like it helped my heart a little bit. My dad and I, our relationship is so complex and it can be work sometimes. But we grow and we come together little by little. Just like in Detective Pikachu. Being here away from my parents, is making me truly realize, i'm going to miss them a lot, when the day comes real soon, that I move on. After feeling the feels from the movie, Uncle Robert and I went to their local mall. It is small and really separated in a way. Different races were really split down the middle. It was something out of a movie. Have you ever seen the DCOM, "The Color Of Friendship"? This mall reminded me of that movie. I can't believe that this is America and this what the other side of the coin is like. Being here and seeing the original core values of what this country was before diversity, i'm so lucky I grew up in the places that I did. It really feels like seeing a history book come to life. I can't believe people are like this still. I'm so proud that other places have come so far. Because just like myself and my personal life, the south has so far to go. The few nice people that I got to meet today, now they are special. I went to GameStop and the 2 guys that helped me find what I wanted for my bday, they were so sweet and so welcoming. I'll always hold on to their kindness, because that really stuck out to me, in a town that feels so black and white. I debated if I was going to write about these certain things. But these are things I feel need to be documented. So I don't forget how lucky I am to be accepted and loved by so many people. Some people don't have that luxury that I have, that my brother has from our family, that other people with love to give and share, have. I don't like attitudes that I have seen here, nor do I like certain aspects, they have a lot of growing to go. I hope one day, if I ever return, I can see some growth, rather than things that I have seen so far. It's getting late and the wedding is tomorrow. It is my birthday tomorrow. I'll probably write a quick note to myself and then i'll finish this up in the plane. But these are things that I have seen today and things that I hope I won't forget, because we forget how lucky we are sometimes. For that to be the last thought on my mind as a 23 year old, i'm so grateful and thankful that this could really make me think harder about how fortunate I have been through all the ups and downs.
Today is the wedding. Today is my birthday. I am now 24!!! How do I feel? Blessed and lucky. After yesterday I seriously feel so fortunate to be going home to people who accept me as I am. I woke up at 4am today. My best friends and siblings Courtney and Dan were the very first to wish me happy bday. It made me get a little emotional, because I really wish they were here right now. I don't get to see them on my day, but I know next year it will be a better opportunity for me to celebrate. Hopefully with them by my side. It is 10am now. I gotta get ready. But I got so many wishes today. I'm so grateful for that. Like I said, i'm so lucky to be loved and accepted by many people. I bought these vegan cupcakes from Whole Foods. I put my candles on them and made my wishes. My mom always thought us to blow out a candle on our actual birthday. Otherwise it is bad luck. It is apart of custom and something I stick with, something i'll always stick with. As I sit here and reply to more messages arriving, I just wanted to take moment in this diary to truly reflect and thank those who have been here for me. I really hope I can be there in some way for them and for those who may not have that luxury like me and so many others do. I think that will be an even larger part of my life mission moving forward. I'm glad I can start my 24th year with those kinda thoughts in my mind.
I have finally left Virginia. I'm up in the air after having one hell of a morning. My first flight was so damn early only to arrive later than expected and once again SO CLOSE to my next flight. I had 5 mins to get to a flight that was leaving in 10 mins. American Airlines is the WORST airlines I have flown in. I do not plan on flying with them again or anytime soon. I'm so lucky i'm on this plane right now, because we would have been stuck. Last night was the wedding. I went and was there for my brother as he married the love of his life. I will always be honored that he asked me to be apart of his special day. Something he will always look back on. I'm glad I got to be with my god brothers/ first cousins and spend the whole afternoon/ evening with them. Just talking and laughing. Little things like that come a long way in my book. It was nice palate cleanser after seeing some of the things I saw in this state. It's been interesting, Virginia. I mean at least the family was good and the wedding as well. As for the house I stayed in, thank god I got out. I needed to take a bath for health reasons and my airbnb host went batshit crazy because I was using the water. Never in my life have I had some random person go off on me, like him. I thank god i'm outta there and will not return. I just needed hot water, but he just started slamming things and yelling. What a weird old man. I'm really glad i'm far away on this plane right now. I looked out my window and saw how beautiful this state is. It is beautiful but it needs some nurturing. Hopefully the love that my brother and his wife have, can help nurture that a little. Virginia needs a lot more love. This world already has so much hate, don't add anymore to it. I know my words may to help, but down the line, who knows. To start off the 24th year of my life in this strange unknown place, really helped me kick off that 24 things to do before 25 list. This was so uncomfortable in so many ways. From the plane rides, to the town, to the house. I had to seek discomfort. I just never thought it would be on the first day, but hey, we are off to a solid start. I always preach about love and giving love to a world that needs it. I hope this little insight to my life can do just that. Little lessons and eye openers, like this, can go a very long way. Sure enough, it is. Because this is something that is going to stick with me for life. I want to help make an impact and be there for people who feel they are not accepted or loved because of the color of their skin, how they look, or who they love. That is one of the biggest things that I stand for, and i'm so sorry that some people don't have that. I hope one day I can be some sort of light for them. Until then all I can do is speak up and put myself in their shoes for a day. It is way of seeking discomfort, but it will help ratify and change the path as we go. Sometimes we have to be in situations that make us uncomfortable, it is the only way we can grow and evolve. I just turned 24 and I think i'm off to a good start of anew evolution. Thanks Virginia for helping to add more to me. In a place that seems to take away from some people, you gave me something to add to my drive and I thank you for that. I don't when and if I will come back anytime soon, but I really hope the south can catch up with the rest of the world and learn to love and accept with an open mind and open heart. Now let's go back to California, please. I'm tired of this plane and I need a break. I want to give my all to everything and in return hopefully a little more love, to those who need it.
END OF CHAPTER 14
Photographer: Dom Baza
What I'm Wearing: Captain America Shirt - Uniqlo. Jeans - H&M, Shoes Fila
What I'm Wearing: Hat - House Stark (Game Of Thrones), Sweater - H&M, Jeans - H&M, Shoes - Lugz, Glasses - Wearme Pro
What I'm Wearing - Shirt - Uniqlo, Pants - Calvin Klein, Shoes - Lugz
What I'm Wearing - Sweater - Uniqlo, Pants - Good Fellow, Shoes - Giorgio Brutini
Every post I will include the song that inspired me to build a post around it's title
Page 129, Page 130, Page 131, Page 132
Stories From My Life - CHAPTER 14
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Stories From My Life
(APRIL 17- PRESENT)